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OMB: Agencies Must Use Plain Language Summaries in Regulation

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The Office of Management and Budget issued a memo Jan. 4 calling for government agencies to provide executive summaries at the beginning of all enacted rules and regulations.

According to Cass Sunstein, administrator of the OMB’s information and regulatory affairs office, summaries should be written in “plain language and easy to understand.”

In a Jan. 6 blog post, Sunstein wrote the purpose of the new rule is to promote public understanding, while ensuring an open exchange of information and perspectives.

“Such summaries will make it far easier for people to understand what they are being asked to do,” wrote Sunstein in her post.

Summaries should run no longer than four double spaced pages when possible and outline the regulatory action, cost and benefits as well as provide a summary of the action.

“The use of clear, simple executive summaries will make it far easier for members of the public to understand and to scrutinize proposed rules,” wrote Sunstein.

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